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A large, prosperous coastal city, Quy Nhon boasts a terrific beach-blessed shoreline and grand boulevards. Its seaside appeal and tidy, litter-free streets make it the kind of place that affluent Vietnamese couples choose to retire to, spending their final days ocean-gazing and promenade-walking

If you are looking for a beach and you willing to get off the beaten track will enjoy Quy Nhon, a lively and pleasant coastal city in Bình Định Province in central Vietnam, virtually half way between the popular cities of Nha Trang and Hoi An. The city is known for its beautiful surroundings, Cham temples, and nearby beaches.

Easily reached by plane, bus and train, it’s surprising that more people don’t choose to spend more than the absolute minimum in Qui Nhon. It has a noteworthy beach in its own right, without any of the hustle or crowds. Visitors will have opportunity of breathing the pure fresh air from the sea, mountains and forests, feeling the caress of sea breezes and hot embrace of tropical sun, watching the skilled  craftsmen hand making beautiful artifacts, and tasting the peculiar specialities. But first and foremost they will be pleased with the warm welcome from the local folks.

Quy Nhon is certainly a good spot to sample some fresh seafood, but for most foreign visitors the city’s attractions are less obvious

Vast sapphire skies and fresh ocean breezes draw visitors to Quy Nhon, where you can enjoy empty beaches and the area’s rugged natural beauty. The public beach is immaculate and so far, development directly on the beach has been limited to only a few hotels and resorts on the south end of the strip. Besides, tourists who explore Eo Gio, Ky Co beach, Trung Luong and near by fishing villages discover both serenity and excitement.

To get more experience about Quy Nhon beach, you can click: Indochina travel Vietnam

Ky Co beach is arguably the most impressive beach in the region. Located 25km from down town, Ky Co is special because it bends like a sickle. Backed by mountains on three sides, the beach faces the deep blue sea. Visitors can travel here by boat, admiring the rocky and picturesque coastal landscape on the way. Another option is to reach Eo Gio (Windy Straight) by motorbike and board a small boat to Ky Co beach. We come here to swim in the crystal water, relax on the beach and enjoy seafood. There are also some caves to explore. Pineapple Beach offers colourful coral. Eo Gio is also worth visiting, blessed with a harmonious landscape of rocks, sky, cloud and water.

Ky Co Beach is nestled snugly in Nhon Ly Commune, 25 kilometers northeast of Quy Nhon City

Ghenh Rang ( Rang Rapid) is one of the most spectacular natural gifts bestowed upon this city. Lying 3km south down town, Rang Rapid consists of a series of rocky walls set near the sea. Ghenh Rang is a work by Mother Nature with a cluster of stones running along the seaside and undulating rock mountains, forming caves, dales with white sand on one side and the emerald sea of rustling waves on the other. After dark the rocks appear even more mysterious. Set below high mountains, the rocks and sea shine silver in the light of the moon and stars twinkle in the clear dark sky. These all creates a pristine Ghenh Rang, a charming spectacular and romantic painting.

Ghenh Rang is one of the most attractive destinations in Quy Nhon, located 3km south east of the city

Another natural marvel is known as the Queen Beach – a rocky beach covered with large rocks in strange rounded shapes. Visitors like to walk barefoot on these rocks, which resemble giant eggs. The colors are striking-white, red, grey or patterned…This rocky beach has an otherworldly beauty.

Hungry from exploring Quy Nhon’s spectacular landscape, visitors will enjoy this region’s famed fresh seafood and local dishes. The town has lots of cafés where you can relax, watch the sea and recharge in preparation for your next adventure.

Trung Luong

Eo Gio

Eo Gio

Trung Luong

Trung Luong beach

Enjoy fresh coconut while visiting Trung Luong – Quy Nhon Beach

Eo Gio is the best place to take photos

Beach at down town of Quy Nhon city

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Half of the boiling summer has gone in Northern Vietnam and I believe that you all have well enjoyed your beach relaxation for your summer vacation. It is about time to start to farewell the summer and welcome the most expecting time of the year: Autumn for stunning harvesting time of the year. If you have not popped up any ideas yet, let’s follow me with these beautiful golden rice places in North Vietnam, both in the delta area and the mountainous one.

  1. Tam Coc – Ninh Binh Province

Tam Coc has long been famed as the enchanted site for a boat trip through the emerald waterway. From Hanoi, this is also the closest place among the sites that I would like to introduce which can be done within a day for only 120km. Though it is popular for many tourists to Vietnam but your trip is not fulfilled without visiting at the right time of harvesting season since early May each year.

On the boat trip by the local boat men, you will be sailed from this surprise to the other excitement by the breath-taking scenery here. I guess you can’t keep your “WOW” when enjoying the yellow color of a huge natural carpet of rice in the summer breeze, the color of pure greenish-blue Yen stream and the blue cloudlessly shining sky. Also, the journey passing by imposingly ancient rock mountain that leads you to Ca, Hai & Ba limestone grottoes which are adorned with glistening stalactites will create an unforgettable picturesque scenery.

  1. Mu Cang Chai – Yen Bai Province

If the photo shoots of harvesting rice season in the delta area is not enough for your passion, now we will move further to the mountainous area of Vietnam to indulge yourself in the amazing beauty of the national heritage site. Mu Cang Chai is a rural district in Yen Bai Province, 290 km away from Hanoi and is emerging as an ideal place for a large number of foreigners instead of only Vietnamese as before. To reach this heaven on earth, you will pass by the most dangerous pass in North Vietnam: Khau Pha Pass.

No matter what time of the year you choose to travel here, there will always be amazing scenery to watch, but the best time to visit these beautiful lands is during the grain season from mid-September to early October when you will be absolutely thrilled by the majestic beauty of this golden sea of rice. There are three most attractive stops that can’t be ignored to catch the most mind-blowing beauty namely as: Che Cu Nha, La Pan Tan and De Zu Phinh villages.

Looking down from the top of hills, tourists can see awe inspiring terraces fields stretching along the mountain side till the bottom of steep valleys that looks like streams and rivers, making it the natural masterpiece of giant rice staircases leading to heaven. Besides the amazing rice fields, you may also have chance to see a plenty of local life moments by H’mong & Thai ethnic peoples. The rustic lifestyle of these tribal people together with the breath-taking nature surroundings makes Mu Cang Chai one of the top destinations for any authentic experience lovers.

  1. Sapa – Laocai Province

Sapa, 350  km to the North West of Hanoi is always an attractive tourist destination all year round that can be undeniable: in winter, white snow falls (occasionally) covering mountains, in spring plum flowers blossom in the warm sunshine, in summer peaches are ripe and in autumn the rice blooms in sunshine.

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Unlike other places in Vietnam that can have two crops a year, there is only one crop per year in Sapa starting from June to October. Therefore, to see the most beautiful scenery in Sapa, tourists are highly recommended to come here when the rice fields are ready to be harvested with lovely smell of new rice since late August to September.

In the ripe rice season, tourists can embark on the greatest trekking route along the Cat Cat Village, down the Muong Hoa Valley, go around the Lao Chai, Tavan Village or standing from the top of the mountain at Ta Phin Village for gorgeous golden grain fields and scattered       stilt houses of H’mong, Red Dzao and Tay, Zay peoples. Nothing is more perfect than seeing the whole valley painted in various shades of green and yellow and dotted with bright colors of red or indigo of traditional costume worn by farmers working on the rice paddy fields. Why don’t you try it on for this autumn?

  1. Bac Son – Lang Son Province
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Panorama of Bac Son Valley from Na Lay mountain

Only 160 km from Hanoi to the North East, Bac Son Valley is located in the heart of Bac Son District of Lang Son Province which is also a paradise of ripe rice season in July attracting tourists from all parts of the world. To get more information, you can click: Indochina travel Vietnam 

Rice fields in Bac Son have been rated as “A rare green field of the planet” on the tourism website whenonearth.net for its amazing and unique features. The reason is that this valley owns incredibly high mountains which are about 500-1200 meters high. These mountains, together with the valley’s rice fields, create a great scenic landscape that you can only see its best after climbing on top of Na Lay mountain which is about 600 in height above sea level. From here, you are absolutely amazed by the stunning 360-degree scenery of mountains, villages, rivers and farms.

The pristine beauty of Bac Son Valley also changes in different time of a day. In the morning, the valley becomes dim because of the thin layers of fog cover on the slopes of limestone mountains. At sunrise, smog disappears and the first beautiful sunlight begins to brighten up Bac Son Valley. At dawn, the sun gradually hides itself behind limestone mountains, which creates a wonderful beauty for this destination.

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You will be surprised to see this picturesque scenery of diferent colors from lush green to brown yellow

After sunset, Bac Son Valley becomes more sparking by the light of daily schedule in houses on the foot of limestone mountains. At any time, Bac Son Valley also offers a taste of tranquility and serenity for visitors’ soul.

    5. Hoang Su Phi – Ha Giang Province

Hoang Su Phi of Ha Giang Province is one of the most spectacular but least-travelled areas in northern Vietnam (300 km from Hanoi) – with mountains covered in lush rice terraces. The harvesting time of Hoang Su Phi is a little later than in Sapa or Mu Cang Chai, from September to end of October is the best moment for photographers.

 

Beautiful rice terraces are stretching along this area but the best place to have the nice shoots is Nam Ty, San Sa Ho, Ban Luoc, Thong Nguyen. The rice tree itself is taller than in Mu Cang Chai and the terraces is also at higher altitude.

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These rice fields are not only a highlight to atract tourism, but are the home and the food supply for many of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities like Mong, La Chi, Dao and Nung, giving it a diverse appeal. Though the system of rice cultivating is somewhat traditional with simple tools, the aged-old knowledge of taking care of rice fields has maintained its fertile ground artfully, making Hoang Su Phi become the most wanted site for dream explorer and an ideal destination for hiking tours, trekking tours and photography tours with homestay experience at local houses of the hill tribes. It is not superlative to call Hoang Su Phi the magnificent work of local people.

Tips for your stunning photos:

To have a safe and fun trip with a fruitful photo hunting, you should remember these tips:

  • Due to the different period of rice planting, the harvest time is varied among places that noted clearly above for each site. Therefore, choosing the right time will bring you a collection full of colors: from lust green to dark yellow and even the dark brown color.
  • Choose suitable clothing when traveling to the rural mountainous area, including thin jacket, walking shoes and hat to keep your greatest physical condition.
  • Do not forget to prepare your battery and backup memory card as the photo chance is endless. Choose the colorful clothes and scarf to make you beautiful in any moments.
  • Be respectful to the local culture. Bring along some snacks and candies for you and for kids and never spoil them by giving money.
  • Ask the locals for their advices on the best spots for sightseeing and you may have off-the-beaten-track that you will never know.

Now more than never, do not hesitate to take a trip to Vietnam’s Northeast and witness the art and beauty of the most wondrous rice fields in the world. Wish you the best harvesting season in Vietnam trip!

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Practices related to the Viet beliefs in the Mother Goddesses of Three Realms! What should you do in the evening in Hanoi? Would you like to explore Folk culture? After a few days visiting Hanoi, visitors may like to see something different, something is unique just being held in Vietnam? Outside the usual scope of performances tourists attend – mostly water puppetry – exists the Viet Theater’s artistic interpretation of “Lên Đồng” or “Hầu Đồng”, a traditional ritual in which a medium is possessed by several deities. Tứ Phủ – The Four Palace show is one of the latest shows in Hanoi that has been nurtured, idealized and arranged for 4 years before officially presented in late February 2016 in Cong Nhan Theatre which is three-minute walk to Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam.

“The four palaces” or Tu Phu Performance was inspired by the ritual of the spiritual medium ship (Len Dong) of the Mother Religion believing in The Mother Goddess who brings about favorable weather, happiness and fullness to people.

What does Four Palaces mean?

Vietnam is already home to world intangible cultural heritages, including Nha Nhac (royal court music), the Space of Gong Culture in the Central Highlands, Quan Ho (love duets), Ca tru (ceremonial singing) and Hung King worshipping rituals. In 2016, Vietnam summited the dossier on “the belief of the Mother Goddess of Three Realms worship by Vietnamese” for UNESCO recognition.

Mother Goddess worship is a traditional practice in Vietnam with a long history, having stood the test of social changes. The belief in Mother Goddess worship reflects people’s desire for health, wealth and fortune. The practice rituals meet belief-related needs by people in their daily life and have been closely associated with historical and cultural figures, such as Lieu Hanh, Au Co, Vuong Mau (legendary Mother of Saint Giong).

The practitioners are comprised of temple guardians, ritual priests, spirit mediums, mediums’ assistants, musicians who perform the songs for the spirits, disciples and lay adherents who share the same beliefs in the spiritual power, supernatural strength and protection of the Mother Goddess spirit pantheon. All of these practitioners form groups who worship together, take part in traditional festivals and perform spirit possession rituals at temples and palaces dedicated to Mother Goddesses. The folk belief shows the respect of children towards their mothers while reflecting the UNESCO spirit of preserving cultural and religious diversity.

If you interest this post, please view: Indochina travel Vietnam to get more detail information

As a type of folk arts, Len Dong ritual is a spiritual performance

The reincarnatation of Goddess of Mountain & Forest Performance

The reincarnatation of General “Ong Muoi“ Performance

Four Palace Show

Four Palaces is created by Viet Theatre, is the 1st performance to bring Hau Dong ceremony of the Viet Belief on Mother Goddesses (Dao Mau) which is now recognized by UNESCO as the world’s Intangible Cultural Heritage to the stage. Four Palaces show honors the magnificence, sophistication of the art in Dao Mau to introduce to the international audiences in Hanoi. The show is an exciting and spiritual journey that combines the effects of sound, light, and unique visuals during the 45-minute performance. The Four Palaces Show has three parts:

  • The Reincarnation of the Second Lady of the Highland
  • The Reincarnation of the Tenth Prince
  • The Reincarnation of the Little Princess of Highlands

Schedule: Every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Duration: 45 minutes

Location: City centre – Cong Nhan Theatre (Add: 42 Trang Tien Street, Hanoi)

Enjoy the show.

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I have arrived in Myanmar on a very auspicious date, the Burmese new year, or Thingyan, the most celebrated festival in the country. Thingyan, Myanmar Water Festival, takes place toward the end of the hot, dry season and ushers in the Myanmar New Year. This festival is also celebrated in neighboring Theravada Buddhist countries; Songkran in Thailand and Laos, Chaul Chnam Thmey in Cambodia. Taking place from April 13 to 16 each year, the Buddhist festival of Thingyan is celebrated over four to five days, culminating on the Lunar New Year Day.

Commonly referred to as the Water Festival, Maha Thingyan allows people to celebrate the Burmese New Year. Despite this, Maha Thingyan is observed in mid-April on the Gregorian calendar. While the Water Festival is a Buddhist event, the Burmese government has made it a legal public holiday. This ensures that many Burmese citizens have the opportunity to enjoy the Water Festival. Maha Thingyan is a time for happiness and friendly attitudes.

Thinngyan is the most unique and colourful with the merriest occasion in Myanmar. Standing on bamboo stages erected along the streets, people splash water on passersby. Powerful water pipes douse people driving by in jeeps and trucks. The people throwing water each other since the Myanmar believe that Thinngyan water has the power to cleanse the evil and sins of the old year. The water symbolizes the washing away of the previous year’s bad luck and sins. On New Year’s Day itself, all the water-throwing ends. This day is celebrated by releasing captive fish and birds as acts of merit, and special feasts are held for monks.

Thingyan Celebrations:
Thingyan Eve: The first Thingyan celebrations begin on the day before the Water Festival. Thingyan Eve, or A-Kyo Nei, is a time for observing Buddhist beliefs.

Fasting: Many Buddhists observe Thingyan Eve through fasting. People who decide to fast for Thingyan Eve usually eat a single basic meal prior to noon. This meal is often very bland.

Observing the Eight Precepts: During Thingyan Eve, Buddhists are expected to observe the Eight Precepts of Buddhism. These Eight Precepts are similar to the Five Precepts. While observing the Eight Precepts, Buddhists must do the following: Refrain from killing living creatures, Refrain from stealing, Refrain from sexual activity, Refrain from lying or using incorrect speech, Refrain from using alcohol or drugs, Refrain from seeking entertainment, Refrain from eating during fasting periods, Refrain from sleeping on high places

Offerings to Monks: Many people in Myanmar celebrate Thingyan Eve by visiting a Buddhist temple. When visiting these temples, it is considered proper to leave an offering of green coconuts and bananas. These kinds of offerings usually consist of a single green coconut surrounded by a circle of bananas.

Washing the Buddha: Burmese people will also wash Buddha statues with sacred water that has been scented with flower extract. When washing Buddha statues, people start at the top by drizzling water over the head.

Night Celebrations: After the religious formalities of Thingyan Eve have been observed, Burmese people begin to relax and enjoy themselves. There are many lively celebrations that occur during the night of Thingyan Eve.

Music, Song, and Dance: While the Eight Precepts prohibit Buddhists from enjoying entertainment of any kind during the daytime, people are allowed to party to their hearts’ content as soon as night arrives. In nearly every village, city, and town in Myanmar, large stages are erected for the purpose of enjoying entertainment. These stages are made of wood and elaborately decorated with papier-mache and paint. Woman will dance to classical and contemporary music while wearing flower skirts. In addition to these flower skirts, Burmese women often wear padauck blossoms in their hair. The padauck blossom is also commonly referred to as the Thingyan flower due to its rarity and use during Maha Thingyan.

Parade of Locals: After enjoying live music and dancing, people celebrating Maha Thingyan parade the streets of their town or city while enjoying alcohol and the company of their friends and family members. These parades often consist of vehicles and decorated floats. Gyat, a form of Burmese rap, is commonly performed during these parades. Gyat is fairly controversial because it is a popular way of expressing distaste for social and political issues through music.

Water Festival Celebrations
Thinngyan water festival time is the merriest time for Myanmar young and old. Almost the whole populations are in the most joyous mood; roam around the city in cars or on foot to throwing and splashing water each other. Children use water pistols to drench their friends, relatives, and anyone else in range – only monks and the elderly are safe.
The primary event of Maha Thingyan is the Water Festival. This huge event is meant to celebrate the descent of Thagyamin, a celestial Buddhist figure, to Earth. The beginning of the Water Festival, or A-Kya Nei, is marked with the firing of a water cannon into a public area. While the cannon is fired, people run out to collect the water with pots and buckets. The collected water is then poured over the ground. This is followed by a short prayer. Just like Thingyan Eve, these religious rituals are followed by festive activities. Water throwing with toy guns, balloons, and hoses takes place in many areas of Myanmar.

If you are planning to travel Myanmar, Thingyan is undoubtedly the best time of the year to visit. Besides the fun-filled activities and the festive atmosphere, you’ll be sure to meet lots of Burmese, who are always friendly saying “Mingalabar”

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Colorful Bangkok

Colorful Bangkok

Great food, superb shopping and a vibrant culture make the Thai capital an ideal gateway for a journey to South-East Asia. Bangkok is a huge hub for Southeast Asia and is also an excellent place to kick off a trip. It’s a big bustling city and it’s best to see.

You could spend a lot more time exploring the city but I visited this capital many times before so 3 days in Bangkok is a good length of time for my visit. Each time I come  back I fall deeper and deeper in love with this amazing city.

For more information, you can click: Indochina tours Thailand

Beneath the dust and chaos, Bangkok is packed with things to do and places to see. From street-side restaurants with plastic chairs and road-side amulet stalls to top-notch restaurants and the world’s hippest rooftop bars. From exploring ancient temples to taking a  tuk-tuk tour through the Bangkok night. Bangkok has it all and there is never a dull moment when you hit the streets of this city.

Tuk Tuk is popular transportation in Bangkok

Tuk Tuk is popular transportation in Bangkok

Here is my sharing for 48 hours itinerary with the highlights of what to do in Bangkok.

Saturday: Temples and Historic Sites

Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) – Wat Pho (Gigantic reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun – Temple of the Dawn.

Buddhism is the national religion and is practised by nine out of 10 Thais, who pay their respects at shrines at all times of day. The former home of the monarch, the Grand Palace is located right beside the architectural wonder that is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. You must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temple. Wear shirts with sleeves, long pants or skirts and shoes. So no tank tops! If you’re wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks, so no bare feet. If you show up at the front gate improperly dressed, there is a booth near the entry that provides clothes to cover you up properly. You must leave your passport or credit card as security. Shoes should be removed before entering the main chapel. Also, when sitting in front of a Buddha image, remember to tuck your feet behind you to avoid the very offensive pose of pointing your feet towards Buddha.

From Grand Palace, walk about 10 minutes to Wat Pho, the gigantic reclining Buddha is amazingly beautiful covered in gold leaf and mother-of-pearl ornaments inlaid in his feet. Wat Pho is also Thailand’s headquarter for the teaching of traditional Thai medicine and Thai massage. After this walk around Grand Palace and Wat Pho, nothing beats a relaxing head or foot massage.

Then it is time to cross the river, so jump on a cross-river ferry from No. 8 Tha Tien to Wat Arun pier. On your way to the Grand Palace and Wat PhraKaew you passed this temple with the ferry, so you already know that it is spectacular and atmospheric with its steep piers reaching up in the sky. It is at its most impressive after dark when it is lit up and looks a bit magical and like a fairytale. Unfortunately, it closes before nightfall. This is my favourite temple in Bangkok.

In the late afternoon, take a ride to the Asiatique-The Riverfront, a new shopping and entertainment venue on the Chao Phraya River. I love this place very much. You can go shopping, enjoy a cocktail to see sunset on the river bank or have a great dinner with live music.

Grand Palace in Bangkok

Grand Palace in Bangkok

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

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Wat Arun

Wat Arun

Sunset on the riverbank

Sunset on the riverbank

Asiatique Market & Shopping Mall

Asiatique Market & Shopping Mall

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  1. Sunday: Modern Bangkok and Weekend Shopping

After this delicious breakfast and it’s time to head on to the famous and vibrant China Town that is located by the river. Go for a walk through the narrow streets and beautiful buildings in China Town, shop Chinese green tea and other Chinese souvenirs, and just watch the life on the streets. (How to get there: It is best to take a taxi or tuk-tuk to China Town – Estimated time: 1-2 hour)

Next stop is Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok. It has reached a landmark status as a must-see place for my visit all the time. Chatuchak Weekend market is probably the biggest weekend market in the world. Here you will find just about anything you can imagine, both useful and not so useful stuff.

If you are not in Bangkok a Saturday or Sunday, it is time to experience the modern side of Bangkok and visit the Siam area to go shopping. Take the sky train to Siam station or Chit Lom station. Siam is a shopping bonanza and we love it. You can spend hours and hours exploring the four big shopping centers that are located next to each other in the Siam area: Central World (has an ice skating rink at ground floor), Siam Paragon (has South East Asia’s biggest aquarium, Siam Ocean World at base level and the Exotic Thai store on 4th floor – perfect for gifts and souvenirs), Siam Center, Siam Discovery (has Bangkok’s Madame Tussauds on 6th floor), MBK.

China Town in Bangkok

China Town in Bangkok

Siam Shopping Center

Siam Shopping Center

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Modern Bangkok

Modern Bangkok

Modern Bangkok

Modern Bangkok

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Chatuchak Weekend Market

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There you go, this itinerary packed with what we consider it the “heart” of Bangkok. Two days is in our opinion not enough time to spend in this magnificent city. Four or five days are what I would recommend, then you have time to really enjoy yourself and your time in Bangkok and also have some time to relax.

Hope you enjoy this city as much as I do!

Photos credit by Lucas.

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Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree (Bo Tree)

All the pagodas throughout the country celebrate on Full Moon Day of Kason. This ritual commemorates the date 2500 years ago when the Buddha gained enlightenment while mediation under a Bodhi tree. Pilgrims pour water on this tree in pagoda compounds to keep them fresh in the summer heat of May.

As the month of kason is at the middle of the hot reason, the earth is dry and people pour water at the Maha-Bodhi tree to make sure it does not die of drought during the hot summer. This has become an integral part of Myanmar culture and on every full-moon day of kason, the Buddhist people would march in a grand procession to the Bodhi tree or to the pagodas to pour scented water.

For further interest, Please follow our relevant topics at: Indochina travel

Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree (Bo Tree)

There are so many banyan tress in various regions of Myanmar. The majestic trees give cool shade and grandeur as well as dignity. grace and charm. Water pouring ceremony to the Bodhi tree in the month of Kason had been performed successively since the time of Myanmar monarchs to the present day. The performance of the ceremony is supportive not only to the religion and tradition but also to keeping trees green and lush.

  • Date:   During May
  • Location: Countrywide
Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree (Bo Tree)

Ritual of Pouring Water on the Bodhi Tree (Bo Tree)

Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival

The weather in June may not support for outdoor activities through the country, even festivals. Only the biggest one – Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda Festival takes place in Pakkoku, Central Myanmar. Pakokku is an old traditional town on the western bank of the Ayeyarwadt river. This pagoda festival is the most important for all towns west of the Ayeyarwady and produce from the region.

Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda

Pakokku Thiho Shin Pagoda

This festival is an occasion for farming communities in the Pakokku to come together and celebrate the end of the harvest season. Pakokku is the old town on the western bank of Ayeyawady River. This is the most important festival of the land. The festival is also occurred with a local market selling local specialties such as fried chili, tobacco, fiber bags. This is also areas growing the best quality of Tanakha, the plant to make traditional skin-protected cosmetic of Burmese people. Red robed Buddhist monks will collect alms from local people and attendees in the festival. All farmers and merchants will donate portion of their profits to the temple.

  • Date: from 8th Nayon month
  • Duration: 15 days
  • Location: Pakokku, central Myanmar

Waso Festival

The Waso festival is annually held on the full moon of Waso throughout the country. The festival commemorates the time when the Budha gave his first sermon, to five months. Pilgrims throughout the country gather wild flowers to offer at pagodas, and offer new robes to monks. The Buddhist Lent period is from the full moon of Waso until the full moon of Thadingyut.

During the Waso festival, Buddhist monks are not allowed to go outside overnight or longer and they have to stay at their monasteries. Often, monks begin their Lenten days on the full moon day of the fourth month of the Myanmar calendar and ends on the full moon day of Thadingyut, the seventh month of the Myanmar calendar. It lasts for three month in total.

The Waso festival is annually held on the full moon of Waso throughout the country

The Waso festival is annually held on the full moon of Waso throughout the country

The Waso festival is annually held on the full moon of Waso throughout the country

It is said in history that a group of monks set out on a journey to pay their respects to the Buddha in the agricultural season. Because many people complained that the monks walked across cultivated fields and destroyed the crops, the Lord passed a law to be followed by monks: no monk shall make a journey lasting a night or longer during the three monks of the monsoon rains. That rains retreat is the Buddhist Lent.

Following the law, monks spend more time and energy to the propagation of the Buddha’s teachings and the practice, that is, meditation, of the doctrine during that period. Laymen and laywomen try to gian merit through offering robes, alms and other essentials to the Sangha, it was a special donation to the monks during the Lent of absolute devotion to meditation. This annual occasion is called “Waso-pwe”, occasion of offering essentials to the Sangha, or “Waso-thingan-katlupwe”, occasion of offering robes to the Sangha.

From this time on, Buddhist experience three months by not drinking alcohol, making donation ceremonies, reciting the Buddhist chant, keeping precepts and practicing meditation. Morever,marriage and changing of accommodation during the period are not encouraged.

  • Date:   July (15th day of 04th Burmese month)
  • Location: Countrywide
Myanmar Waso Festival (or) Lenten Season

Myanmar Waso Festival (or) Lenten Season

Taung Pyone Nat ( Spirit ) Festival

There are number of annual Nat festivals celebrated in Myanmar, the Nats of the region accordingly. Taungpyone festival is the most attractive and important in a village near Mandalay. Annual festival is held in September or August according to the Myanmar Lunar calendar. The believers honour the two Taung Pyone brothers, Min Gyi and Min  Galay. In Buddhist lore, spirits or nats exit in many forms such as celestials or guardians of the faith, cities or villages, or even for each individual. The pantheon of 37 spirits worshipped by semi-animists are also called Nat but of a different kind. Most of 37 spirits met violent deaths as humans and by strong emotions of bitterness or anger could not pass through to their next life but remain in limbo. But rituals worship them in believing that they will be blessed and they could bring more wealth and good fortune to their daily life.

Taung Pyone Nat ( Spirit ) Festival

Taung Pyone Nat ( Spirit ) Festival

This village is known among Myanmar people thanks to the Taung Pyone Festival, which is the most famous festival of Nats (spirits) in the country. This is the festival where people are allowed to make fun of each other but not allowed to get angry or take the joke as serious for all visitors are expected to smile with joy and fun. All the Nat mediums or clairvoyance and those who believe and worship Nat’s gather in the village. The usually quiet village of Taung Payone becomes very crowded for the time of the festival with all the visitors coming to join the celebrations by car, train or on foot.

The village itself is a pleasant place to be. The beautiful landscape opens the view on mountains covered with palm trees. You can enjoy your stay in a traditional village hut fully made from a palm stem and leaves. Obviously the huts don’t have usual facilities – both showers and toilets are outside. So you will definitely have an interesting outdoor shower experience. Don’t forget to bring some extra longyi which will be necessary for the bathing. During the festival you can find many shops selling traditional crafts – handmade necklaces, bracelets, different children’s toys, snacks, local products.

Series of 37 Nat statues on the stands are offered food and flowers, but not pork products, cash and alcohol. The mediums entertain the crowds with Nat dance with the traditional Nat music and performance during night and day. The whole area is occupied with circus and cultural dances, music and magic shows, fortune tellers and tattoo shops. Thousands of people are visiting the Nats Pavilions to consult a medium for their future prospects and fortunes.

  • Date:   During August
  • Location: Taungyone, Mandalay Division
This is the festival where people are allowed to make fun of each other but not allowed to get angry or take the joke as serious for all visitors are expected to smile with joy and fun.

This is the festival where people are allowed to make fun of each other but not allowed to get angry or take the joke as serious for all visitors are expected to smile with joy and fun.

Manuha Pagoda Festival

Manuha Pagoda Festival is held annually one day before the Full Moon Day of Tawtalin. Depending on the Lunar Calendar. the festival is held in end of September or start of October. Manuha Pagoda Festival is celebrated for three consecutive days.

During two days festival, pretty village girls dressed in their best parade with trays of fruit and cakes to offer at the pagoda. During the afternoon, young men parade larger than life papier mache figures they have made of heroes, celestials and animals. At night, they put on dances and plays. The next morning at dawn, they offer foods at the shrine and also to the monks.

The parade of colourful paper mache figures roam around the city during the festival. The locals create colorful and beautiful decorations of images such as the Manuha King himself. tigers. cows. elephants. horses. and even some stars of today. The number of representation varies up to hundred. The parade goes on until the end of the day.

Locals and foreign visitors enjoy the sight of the colorful papier-mâché figures and also the lifestyle of the Bagan locals. There are other entertainments such as Zat Pwe and Anyeint at the night time. Villagers near and far never miss this opportunity of participating the Manuha Festival.

  • Date:   During September
  • Location: Bagan
The pretty village girls dressed in their best parade with trays of fruit and cakes to offer at the pagoda.

The pretty village girls dressed in their best parade with trays of fruit and cakes to offer at the pagoda.

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Dong Da Hillock Festival takes place annually on the 5th of the Lunar New Year in Hanoi. This festival is organized in memory of the King Quang Trung’s great merit – the national hero in the history of anti – Invaders. Travel Indochina Vietnam

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The statue of King Quang Trung in Dong Da Hillock

Dong Da festival in Hanoi

Dong Da now is also the name of the biggest district of Hanoi capital. Two centuries ago, Dong Da was a bloody battlefield where a farmer-Nguyen Hue with his brothers defeated 200,000 soldiers of the Qing coal invading army. Dong Da Hill became a glorious historical site of the Vietnamese nation. After, Nguyen Hue became King Quang Trung and one of the most famous national heroes in our history.

In the early morning of the 5th day, a historical event for the Procession commences at Khuong Thuong’s celebration and ends at Dong Da Hill. The Procession includes flags, a processional parasol, palanquins with a variety of colors, and the sounds of gongs and drums. In the festival there are a lot of games representing martial spirit. Among them, the Procession of ‘Thang Long fire dragon’ is the most interesting activities.

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Colorful Performances of dragon dance in Dong Da Hillock Festival

The main activity of this festival is the performance of young man recounting a part of the whole period of the war. the victory of King Quang Trung. The young man living at Khuong Thuong village and Dong Quang village will braid straw into shape the big dragon and decorated with areca sheath and paper mache. After that, a group of man with colorful traditional dress will perform martial arts with nunchakus and wooden sticks. This group will go around the fire dragon and show their martial skills. The mixture of heavy sound of big drums and the voice of young man performing martial arts make the atmosphere of festival be more excited and raise the patriotism.

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Young men in colorful dress are performing around “Thang Long Fire Dragon” – A symbol of victory

After the solemn ceremony, you can see traditional games and folk art performances such as lion dancing, dragon dancing, wrestling, human chess, and cock fighting. These traditional games are the most popular in Vietnamese festival. They are always attractive for many both of local people and tourists. You can find them not only on Dong Da Hillock Festival bus also on other big festival in our country. However, on Dong Da Hillock Festival these games will be performed with more colorful decorations and traditional dress. One more very unique thing of this festival which makes it be different from others is that there are many local women join in traditional games such as wrestling or human chess. These games are usually played by men on the other festival.

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Human chess in this festival is more colorful than others and there are many young women join in

Nowadays, this festival is not only for local people who living in Dong Da District but also for tourist from all over the world. Vietnamese government has recognized this festival as a national festival since 1954. Annually, senior officials of government will visit this festival and pray for a new year of country with well-being and the stable development.

Today, for Hanoi people, visiting Dong Da Hillock Festival is indispensable in the first days of the Lunar New Year. If you travel to Hanoi in our Lunar New Year, you should visit this festival to see another side of Hanoi which is more cultural and historical. Moreover, Dong Da Hillock is not far away from Old Quarter and you can visit it by yourself easily.

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